Training Deacons for Ministry at Ridgeway Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee
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ABSTRACT TRAINING DEACONS FOR MINISTRY AT RIDGEWAY BAPTIST CHURCH, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Ashley Edward Ray, D.Min. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2013 Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Travis S. Kerns The project details the office of deacon as presented in Acts and 1 Timothy. The project seeks to design training processes that develop a biblical understanding and deportment of the office of deacon among deacons in a local church context. Methods include a synergistic approach to training in evangelism, character development, and leadership through service. Chapter 1 presents the purpose, goals, context, rationale, definitions, limitations, and delimitations of the project. Chapter 2 formulates the biblical and theological basis for the local church office of deacon as set forth in the project. The chapter contains an exegesis of Acts 6-7, 1 Timothy 3, and numerous passages related to service and leadership. This chapter proposes that biblical deacons, theoretically, both free pastors for the ministry of prayer and the Word and exemplify Christlikeness to the church in meeting needs, which translates into local church harmony. Chapter 3 examines the scriptural principles of spiritual authority and leadership in reference to Aristotle's threefold idea of logos, ethos, and pathos. The lives and teaching of Jesus and Paul stand as exemplary patterns for the servant-minded today. Chapter 4 presents the curriculum and practicum administered during the course of the project. Each portion delineates the process so as to enable someone else to provide the same training in another setting. Chapter 5 presents an evaluation of the effectiveness of the project. This evaluation provides changes that could make the project more successful for future implementation. This project demonstrates the nature of the office of deacon and how deacons today can seek to reflect the biblical model.